Instructions for Writing the Degree Program Rationale

Split your essay into 4 sub-chapters as indicated. Place your name and the name of your degree/concentration at the top of the page. Answer the following questions in an essay form. Remember your rationale as a whole reflects your voice and vision.  Make sure the degree name in your rationale matches the name on your degree program, and all the names of courses mentioned in this essay match their names on your DP.


  1. What degree are you pursuing? (area of study, concentration)
  2. Why is this degree important to you?  Is it related to any skills that you acquired while you worked or studied before?
  3. Provide relevant autobiographical facts so the readers understand the reasons that led you to pursue a degree and the results you expect to achieve.
  4. How do you intend to use your degree?  What knowledge or qualities do you hope to develop through your studies?
  5. Based on your self-assessments and any previous college course work, do you need to strengthen certain academic skill areas or develop certain perspectives?  What do you want to learn via this degree?
  6. Where would you like to be professionally in five or ten years?  What are the most important skills, perspectives, and knowledge areas for your profession? How will your degree help you to reach these goals?

Concentration (skip this section if writing about an AS degree, it is about courses on the left-hand side of your DP draft)

  1. Mention whether you researched degree programs at other schools or consulted with other resources while designing your concentration. What courses does a typical college include in a similar degree? Why is your degree different or similar?
  2. (Important! this question needs a long answer) Describe how you fulfilled ESC area of study guidelines. Here are BME general guidelines . Paraphrase each guideline and state which course(s) from your transcript or Empire State College , or which CBE, fulfill it.  For example: ” My degree fulfills BME general area of study guidelines. I developed communication skills in my College Composition courses. I gained quantitative skills in a College Algebra course. I learned to recognize ethical issues facing today’s business in Business Ethics course.  I broadened my understanding of people in organizational context in Organizational Behavior and several management courses that i took at ESC. I also acquired better understanding of organizations in broader context in a course on Diversity in the Workplace.
  3. How does your DP meets concentration guidelines?  Which studies have you taken for your concentration in Business Administration/Management/Finance or something else?
  4. Comment on a couple of courses. What have you learned? 1-2 sentences.
  5. What supporting courses from prior transcripts, credits by evaluation, Empire State College did you include into your concentration?  How might they be useful for you?

General Education Requirements

  1. Which course from your transcripts, CBEs, and ESC satisfy SUNY general education requirements? Describe several most memorable studies briefly.
  2. Are any of these studies related to your educational/professional goals and provide you with well-rounded broad education?


Summarize how earning this degree will affect your life and/or help you achieve your goals.

Your essay should be free of grammatical errors. Note punctuation and capitalization:

  • Associate in Arts degree,    Associate in Science degree,      associate degree,
  • Bachelor of Arts degree,     Bachelor of Science degree,       bachelor’s degree

If your concentration is in Accounting or in Education, include into your rationale a disclaimer sentence that you are aware of the fact that ESC degree does not prepare you for the CPA or Board of Ed teachers test.

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